Austin Adams, 17, from Ely, Nevada, suffered very serious injuries to his jaw and mouth after his e-cigarette unexpectedly exploded.
The teen had to be rode five hours to Primary Children’s Hospital, Salt Lake City, after the vape his mother Kailani Burton purchased to help him quit cigarettes erupted in his face. Recalling the event, the 45-year-old mother told news reporters: “Austin came in with his hand up to his mouth. He was in shock and unable to speak.” This was unstartling actually, given that Austin had lost several teeth, shattered his jaw, sustained burns and had a hole torn into his gums. Dr Jonathan Skirko, a pediatric throat ear and nose surgeon who attended to the teen, explained: “The tissue kind of got vaporized.” Speaking to news pubs, Dr Skirko furthered: “His injury was fairly extensive where he had lost several teeth. There was not really much tissue along his gum line where the teeth sit either. I deal with lots of jaw fractures and have seen lots of really exotic trauma, like grizzly bear attack or riding a motorcycle… I’ve seen all kinds of crazy stuff, (but) I’ve never seen an e-cigarette explode.”
In order to patch up the severe lacerations in his mouth, numerous hampered lower incisors, and ‘bony incongruity of his left mandible’, Dr Katie Russell (trauma surgeon) claimed Austin endured “open reduction and internal fixation of the fracture, dental extraction, and debridement of devitalized tissue.” This consisted of fitting plates along Austin’s jawbone and sewing his gum line back together. For six weeks, the teenager too had to have his jaw wired; which during the period he could only eat pureed and liquid foods. As Director of Health Improvement at Public Health England, Professor John Newton, depicts it: “It would be tragic if thousands of smokers who could quit with the help of an e-cigarette are being put off due to false fears about safety. We need to reassure smokers that switching to an e-cigarette would be much less harmful than smoking.”
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